Still, it has been a long-held dream of mine to escape the commercialism and busyness of Christmas Present, and find a cabin in which to celebrate a version of Christmas Past. Back in August, I contacted Carole Van Massenhoven of Twin Wheels Farm, and after a brief "what do you think?" email to my siblings and parents, to which everyone replied, "yes", I booked a cabin for a weekend in faraway December.
Well, December arrived, and we were thrilled to have snow for our early-Christmas gathering. Mom and I landed in first, with my kids, to find a beautiful, open-concept, sunny and clean space in which to celebrate. The woodstove was burning merrily and we set about putting away food, claiming bedrooms, and settling in.
Then came all the ingredients that pulled our weekend together into a perfect memory:
Hugs for each safe arrival;
a simple, natural tree in a corner;
a selection of hand-knit hats;
boots, mittens, and hats left to dry by the fire;
an energetic aunt who carried the little ones up the hill again and again;
a table big enough to seat all of us at once, made by Carole's husband Joe from a tree that grew in their yard;
and of course, lots of board- and card-games to pass the evenings.
To those looking in from "out there", I know this seems more than idyllic; you see a perfect family, happy together, healthy and perfectly content. And I will admit, that for this one weekend, we were that family. It may have been the fact that no one drank excessively (as we used to do when we were younger!) or that we were forced to just be together, with nowhere else to go, no hockey games to watch on television, and no interruptions by phone or email. The children got along beautifully, and were so peaceful. My theory is that they had the full, undivided attention of the grownups they love; what could be more satisfying for a child than the security of being surrounded by trusted adults? There was no rushing around, and no distractions. When they wanted to play a game, we did. When they wanted to read 10 Christmas storybooks in a row, we did.
The word for the weekend was "yes", and as always, I'm amazed at the power of that one little word.
Stay tuned for more details of our magical weekend...